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Problem India is competing with China for one of the fastest growing populations and economies in the world. When the population of a country grows faster than the rate of decent infrastructure and government support, harsh living conditions and a concentration of old, inefficient methods of doing things. India’s carbon footprint makes up 7% of all greenhouse gases, due to sheer number of people and lack of consistent regulation of non-renewable resource use. In this case, the focus is...

Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

Problem India is competing with China for one of the fastest growing populations and economies in the world. The challenge a developing economy faces when it adopts developed world technologies (such as vehicles, electricity etc), is the sustainability and regulation of the use of the resources associated. India’s carbon footprint makes up 7% of all greenhouse gases, due to sheer number of people and lack of consistent regulation of non-renewable resource use. SOCIAL OPPORTUNITY...

Andrew Vild
by Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

Overview India is one of the most dynamic, large and rapidly growing economies in the world, rivalled only by China.  With a population of 1.3 billion people, India makes up approximately 17.5% of the world's population, while it's GDP ranks 6th in the world and 139th in the world per capita.  Some of the social issues that exist throughout India include water and sanitation, food security, access to education, access to medical advice, sustainable energy sources, safe methods of...

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Andrew Vild

PROPOSED EXPERIMENT Energy Malawi – Unique Value Proposition – Community Engagement and Feedback CONTENT: Lean Phase: Unique Value Proposition (revision) Assumption: That our solar product is addressing the wants, needs and affordability indices of the target customer segment. Enabling light, charging of phones and the repayment rates/systems (if on finance) are manageable. Time Period: 2 weeks – this will need to be run with PEV operations on the ground. Success Metric:...

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Andrew Vild

PROPOSED EXPERIMENT Energy Malawi - Channel Test CONTENT: Lean Phase: Channel testing Assumption: That it will be more cost effective and equally efficient to implement an automated ordering system for our solar products.  Time Period: 2 weeks - potential to run throughout all years and seasons, however. Success Metric: Success will be measured through the number of customers that engage with the proposed ordering system. CRITERIA:  Green Light - Proceed to Currency...

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by Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

Concept Overview, Problem and Endstate Concept This isn’t a new concept. It is exactly what we have been doing in Fiji and have planned and set up to do in Malawi. An experimental farm that will allow 10-20 crops to grow on an acre of land, increasing productivity by up to 8-10 times, yielding as much as 100kg of useable produce per day. Yes, I have checked and tripled checked, 100kg per day. In order to achieve this, as has been done in India, we need to have a defined...

Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

Everest Recycling Solutions is an ideated and trialled recycling and segregation business operating out of Dili, Timor. The business is currently registered as Project Everest in Timor-Leste. It is important to note that although we call ourselves ERS, our licensing obliges us to self-identify (in contracts, advertising etc) only as Project Everest. Licensing laws in East Timor don’t allow you to be licensed as one thing while “operating under” a different name. This is the situation as...

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by Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

The Malawi Agriculture Assessment Team focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the issues faced by smallholder farmers in Malawi. This was achieved by conducting the Empathise, Define and Ideation phases of the Design Thinking process. The key issues found revolved around most farmers only having one harvest per year due to lack of irrigation. This poses a threat to both food and income security as not enough produce is yielded during the dry season to provide sustenance to...

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by Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

Abstract The energy assessment team in Malawi were the first Project Everest group working specifically on energy in the country. Much of the task consisted of developing an understanding of the current state of energy supply and distribution in Malawi. The potential for off grid technology must be investigated through practical research and surveying. Barriers for off-grid renewables must be identified before continuing into ideation.   The preliminary researched consisted...

Andrew Vild
by Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

The Health Assessment team in Malawi have observed and encountered many interesting insights on health related issues. Across various communities in the Nancholi region – main issues have overwhelming included a lack of access to healthcare facilities and services at overcrowded hospitals and clinics, as well as in a domestic context. (See Health Assessment Challenge – Malawi comment section for a more detailed overview) The team have begun preliminary ideation and have identified...

Ella Grier
by Ella Grier
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Ella Grier

I have been tasked with Game Master. Mostly because I have a reputation for being a nerd and enjoying gaming, but also because I have a keen interest in this space and in utilising this platform, we want to ensure that the points you accumulate also result in meaningful  contributions, comments, ideas etc.  So without boring you with the entire guts of the gamification system (and I am sure many would want to know the mechanics of it!), I want to give you a basic overview of the logic...

Andrew Vild
by Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

While robots and computers will probably never completely replace doctors and nurses, machine learning/deep learning and AI are transforming the healthcare industry. This isn't a new concept and it already exists in a few forms, however, it is catered for the Developed World - as are most things. Machine learning is improving diagnostics, predicting outcomes, and just beginning to scratch the surface of personalized care. The aim is democratising healthcare by enabling everyone around...

Andrew Vild
by Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

I have been engaging with random, hipster agricultural ideas on Kick Start. One of their ideas is the World's Smallest Garden. You get sent a bottle, a plastic tube with a "special smart soil" (with the nutrients and seeds contained) and then all you have to do is fill it with water. It uses a capillary action to lift water up to the seed. As the seedling sprouts, it sends roots down into the bottle which allows the plant to water itself. Young plants can survive for up to a month using the...

Andrew Vild
by Andrew Vild
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Andrew Vild

Summary   The idea focuses on addressing over reliance and over use of pesticides by farmers in Malawi. It aims to limit the input costs of smallholder farmers with already restricted amounts of disposable income by allowing them to utilize the crops in which they are using for Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This utilization will come through household, individual production of natural pesticides such as rapeseed oil and tomato leaf oil sprays.   Current Issue With Pesticide...

Isaac Crawford
by Isaac Crawford
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Isaac Crawford

Our work at Project Everest unites science, business, civil society and government in our efforts to solve the world's issues through the power of enterprise. We do this through empowering communities and partners alike to become a part of the solution to ending extreme poverty.  Together, our generation can end extreme poverty - I believe this to my core. On this front, we need to take a holistic view on a regions issues. Through an interconnected and "moonshot" business plan, multiple...

Andrew Vild
by Andrew Vild
14 Votes
Comments 7
Andrew Vild

This is a proposal to current and future Malawi Health Teams on executing the assessment phase of the project. Teams may use the comment section to post updates on progression through these stages and insights uncovered as a result.  --- The Health Assessment team should investigate as many health-related issues as possible in order to uncover the central areas where impact can be made. An in-depth understanding of key issues, as well as the economic circumstances of potential...

Ella Grier
by Ella Grier
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Comments 4
Ella Grier

Energy is the foundation of all future projects in all of our countries if we strive to set up exponentially effective social enterprises. Energy allows for light after dark, charging of phones, tablets, computers, the use of phones which in turn increases commerce opportunities and access to critical information in other fields of work; health, agriculture, education. The data to date indicates that 85% of people in rural communities in the Nancholi region (our main area of operation)...

Andrew Vild
by Andrew Vild
11 Votes
Comments 4
Andrew Vild

With the majority of the population being subsistence farmers, agriculture dominates the lives of most Malawians, with much of their time and energy being put into growing, harvesting, cooking and eating maize. Lack of crop rotation removes nutrients from the soil, forcing farmers to depend on expensive fertilisers and causing only one yield per year. Farming and agriculture are inherent to Malawian lifestyle, culture, and economy.  Eighty percent of the rural population relies on...

Andrew Vild
by Andrew Vild
15 Votes
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Comments 7
Andrew Vild

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Pausing ERS in Cambodia

Posted by Andrew Vild 11 months ago

Coming out of summer, we have had some fantastic achievements across countries and projects. Naturally, we’ve also encountered multiple roadblocks. One of the projects that experienced particular difficulties was Everest Recycling Solutions in Cambodia. 

Our work there was looking to improve waste management services with a focus on recyclable materials, such as plastics, cardboard, metals and even glass. For a period of time, we had a workable model that allowed us to provide waste collection services to a large portion of our area of operation who were not able to be serviced by the main provider. The main provider within the area is well established in the recycling of plastics, metals and cardboard and we were having troubles with impeding on areas they already service (it doesn’t make sense for overlap when there is already so much unserviced). 

In the attempt to implement our waste collection service, errors were made by Project Everest in terms of what was communicated and where we worked, errors that are in no way critical, but a reminder of the importance of our decisions on the ground – something we as an organisation will own and take full responsibility for. 

Towards the end of summer, our focus turned to glass, and either washing to reuse in breweries or to crush and use as an aggregate in construction materials. The problems associated with this approach include the capped price of bottle collection (2c/bottle), the lack of capital infrastructure to process the bottles, the cost of labour, a location to store the bottles and the cost of transport. Additional to this, we were required to process 100,000 bottles/week, minimum, to gain a strategic business partner. 

These challenges are too great, now, to justify continuing ERS in the short-term. 

Instead, we require resources to do work back here in Australia. Our focus will be to manage relationships with key stakeholders, overcome red-tape and create a more financially viable business model before we can return with a viable direction. 

Please note, if you have worked on ERS Cambodia, your efforts were by no means a waste (pun-intended). This has raised our awareness of the region, the opportunities that may exist in the near future and how much impact each action can make, especially in tight-knit areas. We fully intend to resume projects in Cambodia, when we are in a better position to implement a viable business that promises to deliver impact in line with our social enterprise definition. 

As always, our phone lines and office doors are open to talking to anyone who is particularly concerned about this and we're happy to talk it through in more depth. 

- Andrew Vild, Project Everest Ventures

For those who have been on Project Everest or even those who are planning to come this summer and have been through our interview process, you know that we live by our values. Whenever we make a decision, we make it in line with the values. Why? Because whether it is Bob (Trekker), Jane (Team Leader), Sam (Group Leader) or George (Core Staff Member) making the decision, the outcome should be more or less the same if they use the values as guidance.

One of those values, Make The Hard Decisions – Always, as suggested in the name, is one of the hardest values to constantly live by. It also means that some of the decisions we make aren’t always popular, at least initially.

After completing July operations across 5 countries, our EIGHTH month of in-country operation, we had to have a hard look at our projects, new and old. We needed to look at several factors:

-         How far projects have progressed in their lifetime?

-         What community value and social benefit do they offer?

-         What community drawbacks or social detriment could occur?

-         What barriers to business within a country exist? (in terms of government legislation, registering as a business, competition in the space – from both NGOs, government and businesses).

-         What resources does the project require to ensure success (human, financial and physical resources)?

There are of course many smaller factors, but the above is the gist.

In line with the response to those factors, we have made the hard decision to discontinue several projects. Remember that only 1/10 businesses survive their first 1-2 years of operation. A good entrepreneur needs to be optimistic and push past barriers, but also cannot ignore feedback or signs that the odds are against the business idea. Fortune reported the “top reason” that startups fail: “They make products no one wants.” A careful survey of failed startups determined that 42% of them identified the “lack of a market need for their product” as the single biggest reason for their failure.

If you’re going to spend your time making a product, then spend your time making sure it’s the right product for the right market.

This doesn’t mean they are gone, dead, finished and never to be considered again. They are simply not viable in that location in this point in time due to the circumstances on the ground or the resources we have available to us to move forward.

 

Discontinued projects:

WISI (Water Infrastructure Sustainability Initiative) – Timor-Leste

Energy Assessment – Cambodia

Health Assessment – Cambodia

Agriculture Assessment – Vietnam

Water Assessment – Vietnam

 

Projects we were planning to run and have decided not to:

Social Consulting – Cambodia

Social Consulting – Timor-Leste

Social Consulting – Malawi

Health Assessment – Fiji

 

Reasoning

WISI (Timor) –

The water infrastructure team over July hit several large roadblocks in their pursuit of providing insurance for parts and water infrastructure in the greater Dili region. An excerpt of the WISI July 2017 team’s handover best explains their self-identified reasoning for discontinuing the project, of which I recommend you read the full handover on Crowdicity.

 

“In Theory, Theory and Practice are the Same Thing...

The July 2017 team sees the value in the idea behind WISI Insurance. The concept of being able to make a monthly payment and then make a claim to get household water infrastructure fixed when it breaks, is something that the team felt was a viable and sustainable way of meeting the #6 UN Sustainable Development goal.

...In Practice, they are Not

When the team went to practically implement the insurance model within Timor there were several challenges that were found that ultimately resulted in the decision that is was no longer viable pursue the insurance model.

The customer is always right

When in Timor, it is easy to lull yourself into believing that what you see at your accommodation is the standard for residents in Dili. Sadly, residents of Dili, in general, lack simple water infrastructure. In the surveyed areas (Santa Cruz and Motael), it is commonplace to have only a single collection point that fills up a large container or bath. This water is then used for bathing, drinking, cleaning etc. Since our scheme focused on insuring against breakages of household water infrastructure (toilets, showers, pipes etc), the team realised our customer base was not as we expected. This led us to an ultimatum; do we look to insure against different infrastructure (for example, common electric pumps), or find an area within Dili that does have common household infrastructure? This was not the only major issue we were facing at the time.

It’s Not Your Average Licence

In addition to confirming our consumer base, the team also ran into trouble regarding the business operation. While consulting with our legal advisor Christine (of CC Business Solutions), we were made aware that gaining an insurance licence is very difficult. These licences are issued by Banco Central (the central bank), who requires a large amount of capital investment and legitimacy. Most insurance providers are backed by a much larger capital provider (such as Western Union) and have operated overseas for many years. Even for these companies, the least time taken to gain a licence was 2 years. Many have tried for over 5 years with no success. The team agreed this was too long-a-period to invest on a project that still has not confirmed its consumer base.”

 

Energy and health assessments (Cambodia) –

The findings for Energy and Health were both good, but the market need and opportunities were limited. Cambodia as a whole is a very difficult country, as there is a saturation of NGOs with budgets of millions of dollars to provide services for free. We have been in Cambodia since January 2016 without major success, our focus needs to be bringing the high potential projects, ERS and FarmEd, to fruition and ensuring it has the resources it needs. Once we have done so successfully, we can consider new or assessment-based projects to branch out and piggy-back off the success of the more established ventures.

 

Vietnam -  

The assessments conducted in July lead us to believe that there is a lack of perceived need for the community, a difficulty in a socialist environment with restrictions around business set up, and the difficulty of operating in a CBD. Urban operations is something we have limited experience in and have a lot more complications than first thought. Eg. A suggestion moving forward is aquaponics in the CBD. The aim to provide food to the urban population, however, this would compete with the lower classes who have micro-enterprises with household farms or transport food in from the rural areas.

To move out rural would require us to go further than one hour out of the city and thus outside of our safety tolerance of being within an hour from a reputable hospital.

Operating in Vietnam also draws experienced personnel resources away from other countries with established and high potential ventures, and our priority is making them successful.

 

Projects we were planning to run and have decided not to –

for similar reasoning as the above, our priority of human, trekker, financial and physical resources is focused on the projects with the most potential and that need the most attention. Starting new projects takes a lot of training of our personnel and resources. Again, this doesn’t mean they will never be run, it is just not the best use of our resources at this point in time. We also don’t want to run projects for the sake of running projects, in line with our number one priority being the well being and service to the communities we operate in.

 

 

For those who have worked on a discontinued project

Please know that your work and contributions have not been in vain. Your work may be utilised in future when we are in a better position to continue that line of work and/or it has increased our understanding of the situation on the ground in that focus area and/or has eliminated a sphere in which we can work. All of which has contributed to our positive relationships and presence in the area, as well as built great leaders who have returned with us to make other amazing work happen.

 

Discontinued Projects Update Session

We will be running a few sessions to allow people who are invested in understanding this further and having their thoughts and opinions heard on the relevant project fields.

 

The project times and dates are as follows. For those who cannot physically make it, we will have the option to join on Google Hangouts: https://hangouts.google.com/hangouts/_/projecteverest.ventures/andrew-vild?authuser=1:

WISI (Timor-Leste) - 1000-1045 23/08/2017

Health and Energy Assessments (Cambodia) - 10.45-11.15 23/08/2017

Vietnam Operations - 11.15-12.00 23/08/2017

Projects we were planning to run and have decided not to (focus on future Trekkers who have been displaced) - 12.00-12.45 23/08/2017

Welcome!

Posted by William Ashford Dec 22, 2016

Welcome to be the Project Everest Base Camp!

As Project Everest's head of Research and Development, I'm incredibly excited to be welcoming Trekkers, Team Leaders, Group Leaders, alumni and staff to what will hopefully be a platform where we can discuss, collaborate and further develop the Project Everest projects into thriving, scalable and, most importantly, socially beneficial ventures.

In this inaugural post, I'll attempt to outline the vision behind this platform, the manner in which I see Project Everest Trekkers, Team Leaders, Group Leaders, alumni and staff interacting with and contributing to this platform, and I'll also provide some commentary regarding the current state of the platform.

For some time, Project Everest has had issues with the exchange of information between teams and alumni who have worked on our projects. We've relied on static handover documents, which up until recently, have lacked a consistent structure.

This has decreased productivity on projects, left some teams "in the dark" for days at a time, and has meant that teams have had to wade through the Project Everest Research and Development GoogleDrive in order to find the appropriate handover documents. 

There have also been barriers to alumni contributing to the continued development of ventures in that, if teams sought out the advice of past Trekkers and Team Leaders, the only means of communiation available were cumbersome and weren't intended to scale.

In sum: we've been using a sub par solution.

With the Project Everest Base Camp, powered by Crowdicity, we now have a virtual work space to collaborate and build some incredible social enterprises. Alumni will especially be encouraged to provide commentary on new ideas posted by Trekkers throughout the course of their time in-country so ventures can benefit from their experience. 

Each prospective venture will be allocated a page within the "Challenges" space on the platform. To be clear, general assessment projects won't be found in here. The "Challenges" space is only for projects that have passed the "Define" stage of the Design Thinking process. Findings from "Empathise" and "Define" stage field assessments will, on the other hand, be found in the "Blog" section as a short, two-page report. 

Teams looking for advice on a given topic should head to the relevant Q&A section under "Challenges". This should provide an effective medium for different questions pertaining to specific areas to be asked and answered.

By exploring the platform, you'll all be able to see ways in which you can interact with challenges, submit new ideas, and collaborate on the development of what will hopefully immensley successful social businesses. 

Currently there are some last minute updates being made throughout the platform by Team Leaders, Group Leaders and myself. These include venture descriptions, handover reports, and blogs written for handover reports.

In the meantime, I'd ask that you follow the intent outlined in this blog post when interacting and contributing to the platform so that we're all on the same page and can get started on making the most of this platform. 

Thanks for your continued dedication to Project Everest, our ventures and most importantly, our mission to solve the world's most pressing problems with the power of enterprise. 

All the best, 

 

Will Ashford.

 

Andrew Vild

Sydney, Australia

Joined this community on Dec 20, 2016

Bio Head of Projects - PE Ventures A degree in Materials Engineering at the University of Wollongong and 5 years with BlueScope Steel have afforded me the superior problem-solving techniques required to manage large-scale Project operations and recruitment. I have lead teams in India, Uganda, Cambodia and Malawi and coordinated multiple Projects, responsible for all personnel involved. An infantry officer-in-training with the Royal Australian Army, I am deeply involved in ensuring the success of our Ventures, overseas and at home.

University or Company
UOW

Degree or Work area
Engineering

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